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The Complete Guide To Choosing and Outfitting an Adventure Vehicle for Your Road Trip

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Do you want to spend quality time with your friends in the great outdoors? Are you thinking of taking a road trip in an adventure vehicle?

Road trips are popular among friends, as well as solo trips. Before you begin traveling, it’s essential to prepare well in advance. This means thinking about where you want to go and how you will get there.

Many adventurers rely on adventure vehicles to explore the world. Are you thinking about taking an adventure in the great outdoors?

Read on for tips on choosing and outfitting the best adventure vehicle for you and your friends.

How to Pick the Right Vehicle for an Adventure?

Road trips are a great way to see scenic sights while traveling. Road trips can help you see incredible views. Even though hitting the road is fun and lets you enjoy the scenery, you need the right vehicle.

Your car choice can make or break a road trip. These tips should help you choose a car for a road trip.

Consider a Car’s Safety Rating

When traveling, selecting a vehicle with several different safety features is essential.

On its website, NHTSA provides a list of safety ratings organized by manufacturer and model. The risk associated with road adventure will be reduced as a result.

Pick a Trustworthy Automobile

Choose a reliable car for your road trip. People discover a car’s reliability after it breaks down several times.

If your car breaks down on a road trip, it could wreak havoc on your schedule and plans. Car reviews can help you compare a car’s reliability and features to choose the best one.

Consider Vehicle Size

Size matters when choosing a road-trip car. Comfortable travel is essential. Without it, having fun and making the most of your adventure will be difficult.

Ensure your car has enough space for bags and other gear to be comfortable. Having a car with a large enough trunk to fit your luggage without squeezing you and your family will improve your road trip.

Before Outfitting Your Adventure Vehicle

There are a few things you should think about before you change your base vehicle.

Giving this good thought will help you choose the proper modifications for your overland trip. It will help you ensure you don’t over-spec so that you can build your overland character in the easiest way possible.

Put off any changes that aren’t necessary if you want to start traveling sooner. This will also give you more money to spend on your trip.

Not sure how much it costs to live in a van? Living in a truck or other vehicle that can go off-road doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Needs Versus Desires

Think about what you want to do with your overland build before you start. No matter what you have planned, do you know how the roads will be?

Will you stay on paved roads the whole time? Will you want to or have to drive your car off the road? In snow or sand? Rivers or mud?

Will you travel with other vehicles or maybe on your own? Do you know how to fix your car on your own? On your expedition or road trip, can you get spare parts?

Do you need a 4×4 campervan, or will a 2wd do?

All these questions will play a significant role in deciding to change your overland vehicle. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might not be happy with your overland build, waste money, or not buy the right vehicle.

Or, worse, you might get stuck because those flashy changes weren’t what you needed. Understand this and make the changes you need to your plans to make it work.

You can still go above and beyond, but knowing whether you need a change or want it puts you in charge of how much you spend and what you change.

Maintain as Much Consistency as Possible in Your Outfitting

The more you modify a car, the farther you get from the manufacturer’s basic specs. Afterward? Your dealership is less likely to aid you with repairs or components.

Once you start remapping engine computers, installing aftermarket crawler gears, ripping body panels, changing axles, and putting on mile-high articulation suspension, you’ll need a specialized dealer for the failing item.

Using local parts suppliers might help you get back on the road sooner. Long-term, many alterations are more likely to break than original fits.

To see converted vans, check Van Up and learn more about transforming your van into a high-performance adventure vehicle.

Monitor Your Weight! Avoid Packing on the Pounds

Off-roaders rarely weigh their vehicles. Fully loaded cars have a higher curbside weight.

You may require camping gear, large boxes of clothes and food, equipment, extra gas, lots of water, a driver and passengers, and keepsakes.

Winch bumpers, boxed rear bumpers, roof racks, storage boxes, and rock sliders increase weight. Weight affects fuel economy. You’ll go slower.

Half shafts and clutches fail more commonly because of increased tension. Off-road, the car’s behavior becomes less predictable. Consider your weight before making any adjustments.

Get Your Bearings

Long trips usually involve carrying more weight than usual. By placing the weight correctly, the total effect is reduced.

Low to the ground to maintain the center of gravity low between the axles, disperse the weight equally, and stabilize the vehicle on uneven terrain. Too much weight in the back will push a car sideways when traveling down a steep hill.

Sideways, you’ll slide down a 100m dune. Too much weight on the roof makes abrupt bends and steep slopes dangerous.

Too much front weight causes unsafe lurching when braking forcefully. Driving fast and avoiding a lake-sized pothole isn’t enjoyable.

Modifications to Your Vehicle for Your Adventure

Keeping these things in mind, what changes should you make to your overland build?

For a camper van conversion, you should think the same way. Use our guide to choose the best van to convert into a camper and our guide to buying a campervan to make sure you don’t buy a bad one.

Almost every part of an overland vehicle can be changed, whether it moves or stays still. Here are some of the most important ones.

Suspension Improvements That Make Sense

Heavy-duty springs and shocks are a natural upgrade for a larger overland vehicle. If feasible, use heavy-duty springs and dampers.

Heavy-duty suspension may generate lift, but it won’t alter ground clearance. Brake pipes, breather pipes, drive shafts, and other components must be lengthened. However, the prop shaft and universal joint bearings will wear out faster.

Tires and Wheels for Off-Road Vehicles

Good all-terrain tires are the future. They’re best for mud, sand, snow, and tarmac. Increasing the tire’s radius gives you a deeper side wall.

This has many benefits. A larger tire will give your vehicle a larger footprint, which is helpful in mud, sand, and snow on low psi.

It also protects the wheel rims on uneven surfaces, which is useful when driving across rocky terrain. Your ground clearance will marginally improve, and your cruising speed will increase.

Check that larger tires won’t rub the body when loaded. Check how easily you can get tire size while traveling.

Alloy rims are smarter and lighter than steel rims. Bent rims are hard to repair.

Lowering the air pressure reduces the distance between the ground and the rim. Rocks can damage wheels and tire seals.

You’ll need a hammer to fix this wheel. This treatment destroys alloys.

The steel wheel is unbalanced but will get you to a repair shop. Steel wheel rims are preferable to light alloy wheels.

A Built-in Air Compressor

Off-roading requires frequent tire inflation, sometimes within a few meters. If you have a tire compressor, this will be easy. A fast, powerful air compressor is required.

Many people want to put air compressors and tanks on their boats. If your car doesn’t have one, bring a portable one.

If a convoy car gets stuck, you won’t have to move another car close enough to use a hose. Walking across won’t get you stuck.

Never Forget Your Spare Wheel!

The trunks of most cars have space for other wheels. It is arranged, concealed, and easily accessible. If you are driving through sand or mud, you won’t be able to access the spare wheel.

Many overland vehicles are equipped with two spare tires, one of which has a hub and the other does not. Check the terrain ahead to ensure even brand new 4×4 pickups have a spare tire before driving through the desert.

The Electricity Should Be Kept as Basic as Possible

Keep new electrics and electronics separate to avoid draining your main starter battery and causing a fire. Install two batteries, each with its alternator or a split charge relay. Use marine-grade parts for harsh overland conditions.

Your auxiliary system must be sized for the load, so you must know what each appliance needs. Consider if a 1000-watt light bar is necessary. Overlanders shouldn’t drive at night.

Tanks That Hold More Gas

Fueling up may be a hassle on longer journeys. Retrofitting dual fuel tanks with the switch over valves and gauges or even longer-range fuel tanks is a common request.

Do you need to install more complexity, weight, and load space loss if you are unlikely to require it? The problem may be easily solved by securing a couple more jerry cans in the cargo area and the space between the wheels.

If you’re traveling in a convoy, you may quickly transfer any spare gas to the other cars.

Go Commando or Use Drawer Systems for Storage?

Various storage options exist. You have many options, from removable boxes to drawer systems.

Along with organization, consider weight. If you choose removable storage boxes, tie them down, so they don’t move and get in the way.

Start with detachable storage boxes. You may want to change your setup a week or two into an overland trip.

If you’ve already bought fixed storage systems, you can’t change them cheaply. The above storage change is neat and organized, but it reduces load space and makes it harder to carry extra people or supplies.

Determine what works before investing a lot of money. Our recent overland build uses a rack system to hold 11 20-liter boxes. We’ve rearranged boxes to suit our needs over the past year.

Roof Bars for Extended Hikes

Because of the impact that loads have on the vehicle’s structure, roof racks should be avoided whenever possible. You have no other choice but to purchase a roof tent.

Do not cram additional containers and gas cans onto the vehicle’s roof. A roof rack can add 60 kilograms to the weight of your car, and a roof tent can add another 20.

Your vehicle’s overall mass can quickly increase if you carry extra items like gas cans, spare tires, and boxes. However, keep in mind that this will make driving a riskier endeavor if you raise the CG.

Let the Fun Begin

If you’re planning an epic road trip, you need an adventure vehicle that can handle the journey.

The caliber of your trip is directly related to the vehicle you select, given that it can either enhance the time you spend on the road or significantly contribute to the fun of your adventure.

Apply these tips to choose and outfit an adventure vehicle for your road trip and begin the fun you have longed for.

For more travel guides and tips, visit our blog.

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